From Port Elizabeth and joining us for this segment of Women In Marketing is Samkelwe Gqomo, Director at Womandla Global Network. With leadership traits stemming from when she was young and active in extra curricular activities at school, Samkelwe is comfortable in her role as a leader. She talks about the digital divide and the hindrance it has in South Africa especially as a lot of people continue to work remotely. Let’s learn more about her
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born and raised in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. My fondest memories were participating in EVERYTHING from Netball to Hockey, Drama, and Choir and also taking leadership positions in these activities. I believe this is where I learned about teamwork, communication, and emotional intelligence – all of which are important in my career.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I am quite the singer and maybe a closet comedienne too 😉
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I would invest most of it in real estate and angel networks to grow other women’s businesses. I believe in giving back! I’d also splurge on fashion, family, and travel!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
I’m so embarrassed that it’s junk food. I’m a ribs, wings, and hamburger girl!
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
I was fortunate enough to attend a school that prioritised vocational guidance. The opportunities presented by this included shadowing someone at work (shoutout Michelle Brown). It was during this time that I decided to pursue a career in Public Relations and Communications. This sector forms part of the marketing mix. It was during a stint in the retail industry that my role overlapped. I was involved in marketing practices which subsequently led me to where I am.
I love how my personality and interests always meet in the projects I choose for my business.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
A lion. King of the jungle, leader of the pack. Strong and confident.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
Lol!!! I didn’t work so hard to curate my profile only for it to be undone. I want to venture into interior decorating or staging houses for sale.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I wake up and check my emails and socials. If there’s nothing pressing, I go back to sleep for 30min LOL! When I eventually wake up, I pray, do my devotions and affirmations, and have a giant mug of coffee. THEN GET INTO WORK!
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I have learned to set boundaries for both.
I am a workaholic. It has been quite a journey to try and switch off. I have become much better at setting priorities, pushing back deadlines, and setting realistic goals for the day/week. I attribute all of this all to planning and preparation. Of course, this answer is still in practice, though!
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BTECH IN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE NELSON MANDELA METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
I believe that education is EVERYWHERE.
If you are curious, intentional, and bold, you can do anything. Read ebooks, VOLUNTEER, find a mentor whose work you can shadow, attend webinars, and connect with people you admire online, and of course, do free online courses.
All of these things can stand one in good stead. We are in SA, and formal education is still important, so try and save for a short course if not a formal qualification.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
DO IT!!! I set myself goals to learn as much as I can in a role from various industries over 18-24 months. Not only did this contribute to exponential salary growth, but I built an extensive network and wealth of experience in different sectors.
I can confidently say that this has become useful in pitching for work and managing different projects.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
Unfortunately, many deserving women are not given other roles in the C-Suite level, a topic for another day.
I will say this, though. The intrinsic role of marketing is: communicating the value of a product or service to the right target market. Furthermore, this is to be achieved parallel with a seamless consumer journey. Women are great at executing the detail presumably, based on relatability, connectedness, and passion.
Women are also managing households, everyday life, and caring for communities. For this reason, we should occupy the CMO space – and inform others.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
I agree that remote work has been long overdue!
Employees would be much happier and, more work would get done. From a South African context, technology, data costs and reliable access to the internet have been a hindrance in achieving this. I also believe management in many companies is either not equipped or trusting enough to allow this modus operandi.
Thankfully, the pandemic (and many other crises) has taught us to quickly adapt to change and allow for trial and error in rolling out new business strategies.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
When you find out – please help me!
I struggle, mostly because I run my PR and Marketing consultancy and choose my own, most productive hours. Because I enjoy my work, I tend to work around the clock. To answer the question, I don’t think it is up to the company but the individual to formalise a healthy structure and timeline. Create a schedule and stick to the work hours you are paid for by the company. If possible, get a work phone that is separate from your personal one so that you can switch it off.
ANY RECENT/UPCOMING INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE FROM Womandla Global Network?
We most recently created a Brand collaboration Campaign for our client Carducci, with David Tlale – a well-known couture designer where he designed the Spring 2020 range. We launched it at stores nationwide.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF Womandla Global Network BIGGEST SUCCESSES IN MARKETING OVER THE PAST 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
We have won the pitch to manage the British High Commission’s UK South Africa Tech Hub Communications and Social Media Management. Our Personal Brand Client won the Standard Bank Top Women in Tech Award for 2020.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I love self-help books and podcasts. My current read is ‘Soar! Build Your Vision from the Ground Up’ by TD Jakes.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I watched How to Ruin Christmas and Bridgerton over the festive season.
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
Just wave honey!
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I was fortunate enough to visit family for Christmas, but I’d love to be able to see my friends in Johannesburg.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Share information and Collaborate! Nothing beats shared knowledge, resources, and connections for advancement.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Your vision and focus will play out, but take time to enjoy life more and have fun!
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Being featured in Forbes
Launching a Venture Capital Firm
Travelling to Tunisia, Morocco, Prague, and Amsterdam
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
My Website is www.womandlaglobal.com
Here is the company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/womandla-global-network/